Thursday, 21 January 2021

Questions (167)

Gerald Nash


167. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide details of organisations and individuals that made submissions to the commission on the Defence Forces, including those that specifically called for a review of the Department of Defence to be included in the terms of reference; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3012/21]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

In accordance with a commitment made in the Programme for Government, the Government gave their approval on 15th December 2020 to establish an independent Commission on the Defence Forces, with a mandate to report within 12 months. The Government also approved the Terms of Reference and the membership of the Commission.

The establishment of an independent Commission on the Defence Forces underpins the Government's commitment to ensuring that the Defence Forces are fit for purpose, both in terms of meeting immediate requirements and also in terms of seeking to develop a longer term vision beyond 2030. In establishing the Commission, which contains impressive national and international high-level expertise and experience, the Government are seeking to ensure that the outcome of this process will be a Defence Forces that is agile, flexible and adaptive in responding to dynamic changes in the security environment, including new and emerging threats and technologies.

I can confirm that 18 submissions were received in response to a consultation process that I initiated on the Commission's Terms of Reference, involving a wide stakeholder group comprising the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, the Defence Forces representative associations, the Defence Forces veterans associations, the unions and associations representing Department of Defence staff and civilian employees, the Defence spokespersons of the Sinn Féin, Social Democrat and Labour parties, the Institute of International and European Affairs, the Royal Irish Academy and all other Government Departments. These submissions, which included a broad range of views on matters which the Commission will be tasked, were carefully considered in the drafting of the Commission's Terms of Reference.

The Terms of Reference, and the Commission's overall approach will be guided and informed by both the White Paper on Defence 2015 and the White Paper Update 2019, which set out Ireland's extant Defence Policy, including the current Security Environment Assessment, as set out in the White Paper Update.

Below is a list of all those organisations that made submissions:


Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence

Labour Party

Social Democrats Party

Permanent Defence Forces Other Ranks Representative Association

Representative Association of Commissioned Officers

Reserve Defence Force Representative Association

Association of Retired Commissioned Officers

Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel

Institute of International and European Affairs

Royal Irish Academy

Joint Industrial Council for State Industrial Employees

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

Department of Foreign Affairs

Department of Health

Department of Justice

Department of Transport